Thursday, May 11, 2017

richard murphy at the arnolfini…

Marcus and I went along to the Arnolfini last night to hear architect Richard Murphy talk about the work of his Edinburgh practice - with particularly emphasis on the house he designed for himself at Hart Street, Edinburgh… which won the RIBA’s ‘House of the Year’ award in 2016.
The evening, organised by The Architecture Centre, in association the Bristol+Bath Branch of the RIBA, was attended by a near-capacity audience and Murphy proved to be an entertaining, engaging speaker.
The award-winning house acts as a 'bookend' to the adjoining terrace of Hart Street houses. The roof made mostly of glass with inset photovoltaic cells is designed both to ensure daylight to the adjacent basement flat on Forth Street and also to act as a major collector of solar energy. Inside the roof are a number of insulated shutters which are capable of closing when the roof is in net heat loss mode and opening when there is a net heat gain.

For me, one of the house’s most impressive features was its ability to maximise daylight but also, when required, to be somewhere to hunker down – or as Murphy described it (citing Dutch architect Aldo van Eyck - who’d said that a house should be both “a bird’s nest and a cave, an extrovert place in summer and a retreat in winter”): “In Edinburgh, we can have 20 hours of daylight a day or six; the house needs to close down as much as open up”.
Murphy’s practice made a simple video which shows some of the house’s features – it’s only 6 minutes long and well worth watching.
A very good evening and a very impressive architect.

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